Even after decades of observations and a visit by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, Uranus held on to one critical secret — the composition of its clouds. Now, one of the key components of the planet’s clouds has finally been verified.
A global research team that includes Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has spectroscopically dissected the infrared light from Uranus captured by the 26.25-foot (8-meter) Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. They found hydrogen sulfide, the odiferous gas that most people avoid, in Uranus’ cloud tops. The long-sought evidence was published in the April 23rd issue of the journal Nature Astronomy.
The detection of hydrogen sulfide high in Uranus’ cloud deck (and presumably Neptune’s) is a striking difference from the gas giant planets located closer to the Sun — Jupiter and Saturn — where ammonia is observed above the clouds, but no hydrogen sulfide. These differences in atmospheric composition shed light on questions about the planets’ formation and history.
Many of NASA’s most iconic spacecraft towered over the engineers who built them: think Voyagers 1 and 2, Cassini or Galileo — all large machines that could measure up to a school bus.
But in the past two decades, mini-satellites called CubeSats have made space accessible to a new generation. These briefcase-sized boxes are more focused in their abilities and have a fraction of the mass — and cost — of some past titans of space.
In May, engineers will be watching closely as NASA launches its first pair of CubeSats designed for deep space. The twin spacecraft are called Mars Cube One, or MarCO, and were built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
By George McGinn
Cosmology and Space Research Institute
I don’t believe in Dark Matter or Dark Energy. Even the new Dark Flow.
Published on Oct 25, 2017 – For years, astronomers have been unable to find up to half of the baryonic matter in the universe. We may just have solved this problem. We’ve known for some time that around 95% of the energy content of the universe is in dark matter and dark energy. This dark sector doesn’t interact with light in any way and so is invisible to us. The remaining 5% – the light sector – represents all of the regular matter in the universe. Yet what if I told you that all of the stars and galaxies and galaxy clusters only comprise 10% of the light sector. The rest has proved as elusive as the dark sector. We think it must exist as extremely diffuse gas in between the galaxies, yet our intense searches miss up to half of it. At least until now.
POST TO SPACE-TIME: What about matter that due to the faster than light expansion of the universe? Do we not count them? Ignore them? At the current rate of expansion, which I believe (no verified) is about 2.4, this would mean less mass would be within the visible range every year, 100, 1000+ years. In the area where light will never reach us there is still matter and star creation which must me counted to get an accurate, exact answer to the total mass to dark matter to dark energy (if this really is another name for the faster than light expansion of the universe) ratio. Until them, this is no more than guess work.To make this less confusing, what I am referring to is the speed of causality, or speed of light. In several episodes, you represented this on a graph, say X=time, Y=speed, and the speed of “c” cut the graph at 45 degrees. Now everything to the left of “c” is the visible universe, but due to the faster than “c” expansion of the universe, galaxies cross over the line into the area where light is not fast enough to cross over. The same goes for matter. If Dark Energy is a myth, and only explains the rapid expansion of the universe set in motion by the Big Bang, the missing mass is in the part we can’t see. And since we can’t see into it, we have no idea how big it is, nor how old it is. Ninety-five percent of our missing mass may reside there.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Transiting rocky super-Earth found in habitable zone of quiet red dwarf star
By Gareth Ffowc Roberts For The Conversation
March 14, 2017 at 09:30 AM EDT
One of the most important numbers in maths might today be named after the Greek letter π or “pi”, but the convention of representing it this way actually doesn’t come from Greece at all. It comes from the pen of an 18th century farmer’s son and largely self-taught mathematician from the small island of Anglesey in Wales. The Welsh Government has even renamed Pi Day(on March 14 or 3/14, which matches the first three digits of pi, 3.14) as “Pi Day Cymru“.
The importance of the number we now call pi has been known about since ancient Egyptian times. It allows you to calculate the circumference and area of a circle from its diameter (and vice versa). But it’s also a number that crops up across all scientific disciplines from cosmology to thermodynamics. Yet even after mathematicians worked out how to calculate pi accurately to over 100 decimal places at the start of the 18th century, we didn’t have an agreed symbol for the number.
Editor’s Note: This was sent to me through our website as a referrer, and we felt it was important to share it with you. The rest of the story can be found in its entirety on the PBS Website at the PBS Newshour “The Showdown” titled “Meet the farm boy from Wales who gave the world ‘PI’“
Please click on the link to take you to the PBS website for the complete story.
About the Authror:
Gareth Ffowc Roberts is emeritus professor of Education at Bangor University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article on “the conversation website.“.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Article written by Matt Williams
Published on Universe Today
February 21, 2017
In 2006, during their 26th General Assembly, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a formal definition of the term “planet”. This was done in the hopes of dispelling ambiguity over which bodies should be designated as “planets”, an issue that had plagued astronomers ever since they discovered objects beyond the orbit of Neptune that were comparable in size to Pluto.
Needless to say, the definition they adopted resulted in fair degree of controversy from the astronomical community. For this reason, a team of planetary scientists – which includes famed “Pluto defender” Alan Stern – have come together to propose a new meaning for the term “planet”. Based on their geophysical definition, the term would apply to over 100 bodies in the Solar System, including the Moon itself.
Read the complete article at the Universe Today website: SAD ABOUT PLUTO? HOW ABOUT 110 PLANETS IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM INSTEAD?
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By Matt Williams
Matt Williams is the Curator of the Guide to Space for Universe Today, a regular contributor to HeroX, a science fiction author, and a Taekwon-Do instructor. He lives with his family on Vancouver Island in beautiful BC.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Astronomers have for a long time studied the glowing, cosmic clouds of gas and dust catalogued as NGC 6334 and NGC 6357, this gigantic new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope being only the most recent one. With around two billion pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. The evocative shapes of the clouds have led to their memorable names: the Cat’s Paw Nebula and the Lobster Nebula, respectively. Credit: ES